Category Archives: Roger Taylor

Favorite Band Member

I need a break from all of the current happenings with the band.  Last week was filled with tour news and planning.  This upcoming week will feature Duran Duran at the Superbowl Fan Jam.  I’m looking forward to both the tour and the performance in Dallas, which I hope to see via TV.  Right now, though, I need something silly and unimportant, which led me to think about recent discussions I have had with other fans.  One of those discussions focused on one’s favorite band member.  It seems to me that some fans have their favorite and that favorite has remained a constant for decades.  For other fans, their preference has changed.  Maybe, some people don’t have favorites. 

How do/did people pick their favorite member?  When the band came out and became popular, I’m willing to bet that most people decided based on the band member’s looks.  They might have also considered their style, their musical role in the band, their “personality” via videos or interviews.  I can imagine that many Simon fans appreciated his voice and lyrics.  Perhaps, they like his outgoing personality both on stage and in interviews.  John fans, I’m sure, were attracted to his good looks.  Many Nick fans probably appreciated his colorful looks and sense of style and fashion.  Andy fans might have liked his rock persona and Roger fans admired his quietness.  Does one’s personal favorite reflect on his/her’s own personality?  What if the fan changed his/her favorite over the course of the years?  Does that reflect changes with the band or changes with that fan or both? 

I should admit that I do have a favorite.  I will also admit that I started out having a different favorite but that only lasted a short while.  When I was a kid and first heard and saw Duran Duran, I initially considered Simon my favorite.  Why?  I suppose a lot of it had to do with the fact that he was the “voice” of the band and seemed to be at the center of attention.  Let’s face it.  He also looked pretty good in 1984.  Then, I saw the Reflex video and John Taylor.  Well, I immediately switched my favorite to John, which remains the same to this day.  See, it was a short while!  So, what attracted me to John?  Obviously, I thought he was “cute”!  I liked his personal style and didn’t seem as out there as Nick to my very young self.  It also helped that my best friend, at the time, also liked John.  Thus, when a new video or magazine came out, we would look at it and scream over John Taylor together!  We encouraged each other.  Of course, I didn’t really know much about John or any of them at that time beyond what was published in Bop magazine.  I memorized it all and could recite facts quickly.  The things I learned about John seemed so cool and I wanted to think those things were cool, too.  How many John girls watched James Bond movies because of him?  I bet a lot.  I’m sure that Simon, Nick, Roger and Andy fans had similar experiences. 

Fast forward to the reunion.  My favorite remained the same.  Other fans’ favorites changed.  Why?  It seemed to me that when the reunion happened, most fans initially went back to the childhood favorite.  Most message boards seemed to encourage this.  For example, over on DDM, John fans got to know other John fans and Nick fans met other Nick fans through the section of the board designated for that particular band member.  Like my experiences as a child, these sections were filled with pictures of the band member of choice and there was much screaming following posted pictures!  It also seemed that we all started learning a little bit more about the guys.  Of course, even now, we don’t know them.  We might have some guesses about how they are from their interviews, from meeting them if so lucky, from listening to the music and lyrics for so long, but we don’t really know them..  Nonetheless, it does feel to me that I know different kinds of things about John than I did when I was a kid.  Obviously, I know that he supported Obama in the US Presidential Election of 2008 and didn’t have a clue what his political opinions were in the 1980s.  I know that Simon does not consider himself to be a Christian now and didn’t have a clue then.  For some people, the new knowledge makes us appreciate the band member of choice but, for others, it might turn them off.

Can new information about a band member change someone’s favorite?  I suppose it can.  I feel like some people’s favorite has changed due to their interactions or lack of interactions with fans.  For example, I absolutely felt Roger’s popularity increase once fans realized that he was out and about with the fans after shows.  Where did these fans come from?  I am willing to bet that many of them were John fans first.  If interacting with fans matters, then it would make sense that John might lose fans because he isn’t so social after shows (personally I think that is the right move for him).  What if someone had a bad meet and greet experience with a band member?  Could that cause a change in favorites?  I think so.  I have seen it.  I have seen people warm up to Nick, for example, because he is always so friendly with the fans and I have seen people turned off by Simon’s can-be-perceived-as-a-diva-like-attitude in public.  What if people change their favorite simply because of how the band member has aged?  I suppose it is possible, even if I don’t like it.  Obviously, I admit that looks had/has something to do with it but I wish it didn’t have EVERYTHING to do with it.  That feels too much like objectification, to me. 

It also seems to me that is possible not to have a favorite.  Maybe you like and appreciate them all equally.  Maybe you really are focused on the music.  I can admire that.  Will favorites always be a part of the Duran Duran fandom?  So far, as long as Duran Duran has existed, there have been favorites and I’m willing to bet that there always will be!


Thanking Ronson

Last night, I was battling insomnia so I was online rather late, trying to catch up on the news of the week (and by news, I admit I’m talking purely about Duran Duran news!).  I came across two articles that mention Roger Taylor’s thoughts on working with Ronson, and his thought process on the new album.  (All You Need is Now, available on iTunes as of 12/21!)  Links to the two interviews are here (this one is less “kind” and maybe not worth the plug I’m freely giving…)  and a better one here .

What I find the most interesting is the quote directly from Roger where he admits there was a certain amount of pressure coming into the writing of this newest album.

He said: “We all knew it was a very important album for us, it was do or die actually.

“After our last record didn’t perform that well, we thought: ‘The next one better be good, because it could be our last.”  

I think that as a fan who was deeply disappointed by Red Carpet Massacre in many ways – I know that *I* felt that way.  I’ll even go as far as to say that there was a time where I wondered if there really would be a new album.  When I saw them two years ago (two years ago yesterday I saw their show at MGM Foxwoods in Connecticut, today would have been the Atlantic City show, and tomorrow would be Montclair, New Jersey) – I remember walking away from the show thinking that although the performance was solid, there was something very clearly lacking.  It wasn’t so much that I thought the band looked defeated…maybe they were just a bit tired?  Maybe it was that they seemed as though they were getting bored by the process?  I’m really not sure.  I just know that they weren’t the same band I was used to seeing.  I also know that my own attitude was pretty nasty coming into the show.  I dreaded hearing some of the songs off of RCM, (although I still say, and will go to my grave saying that Red Carpet Massacre, the song that is, is one of the few outstanding moments on the album!) and I wondered if *I* was getting tired of the same old, same old at the shows.  I forced myself to have a change in attitude for the following night, and as a result, I enjoyed the show much more…although I swore after that night that I’d never wear heels to a show again!  Fashion be damned!  I digress….

So while I was a little surprised by Roger’s comment because I wasn’t expecting to ever really read how close to calling it over and done they might have been, I have to wonder why so many other fans seem to be reading the comments and reacting in anger, shock, surprise and even awe.   There are moments in my own fandom where I sit back and wonder what the hell the rest of the fans are thinking, and this is one of those cases.  I went to those same shows in support of RCM.  I saw them at the fan show back at Hammerstein – the performance that night was NOT of a band that was at all sure of themselves. I don’t care what Simon says, they may have made what he calls “a cracking album” – but they had no idea how to sell it to their fans, and make no mistake – that’s EXACTLY what a band does when they take to the stage.  I think that was the first real sign of problems. (never mind Andy’s departure, because although I’m sure RCM would not have been Andy’s first choice in albums to complete – much less the process with which it was completed, I firmly believe that the seed for his leaving the band had already been planted.  Can’t blame that album for everything, can we?)  Shoot ahead two years (give or take) to the shows on the east coast in 2008 and while it was obvious they were more confident with the material, they still looked very lackluster, very tired, very….well, NOT Duran Duran.  Not only that, the band didn’t even react to the fans the way I’d been used to.  There was very little “after the show” hanging out in a nearby club or bar – it was as though they played the show and got out of town as quickly as they could to go back to the relative safety of New York City.  Yes, that could have been as much about circumstance as it was anything else, but I say that when enough signs are pointing to problems – best not to ignore them, even if 90% of the fan base doesn’t see them.

So here we are, close to dawn on the new album…and Roger thanks Mark.  I think that’s a fair statement.  No, Mark didn’t write the songs (to my knowledge), he didn’t play every instrument, he didn’t write and perform the lyric.  However, he DID give the band back some confidence…and for that, why shouldn’t he be thanked?  It makes zero difference….read the words and believe them, dear fellow-fans…it makes zero difference whether the album sells one copy or 1,000,000 copies…if Mark gave the band back some of the confidence that I truly believe they lost after the last album, even if it was only by standing in a corner and being their head cheerleader, then yes he should be thanked.  Don’t we as fans WISH for the day when the band comes out and thanks us for sticking by them for 30 years?  It’s the same thing.  No, I don’t think they’re giving Mark all of the credit, although rest assured if the album does anything at all the press will certainly make Mark out to be the only reason why.  It’s just very clear to me that the band recognizes a certain amount of debt and gratitude that they owe Mark.  

Some fans may say that Mark owes the band, that they are in fact giving him his own shot.  Some feel that Mark took the band back to simply re-do what they’ve already done once.  I think that’s unfair, but there are some fans that will never be happy.  I don’t know what they’re looking for, I don’t know what they’re expecting, and it doesn’t really matter.  At the end of the day it comes down to our own musical tastes.  On our own blog we’ve seen very different opinions on the album, and we could spend an awful lot of time and energy getting angry, defending our opinions and getting nowhere in the process.  I encourage everyone to listen to the single, to buy the album when it becomes available and enjoy having the opportunity to form your own opinion!